UCLA's Rising Star
The Freshman Is The Man
Last Saturday afternoon on the frenzied floor of the Rose Bowl, in the moments after No. 2 UCLA's 34-17 spanking of USC, Bruins tailback DeShaun Foster looked preoccupied. He didn't seem thrilled, as might be expected of a guy who had just become the first Bruins freshman to score four touchdowns in a game. Nor did Foster appear exhausted, which was strange considering that the day before the game he had gone to the hospital, where he was treated for strep throat. No, amid all the backslapping and interviews, Foster was scanning the field. "I was looking for Carson," he said a bit later. "I wanted to talk to him."
That would have been Carson Palmer, the Trojans' starting quarterback and a freshman every bit as precocious as Foster. Last year the two met in the CIF Southern Section Division V championship, a game that is still spoken of with reverence by the Southern California pigskin cognoscenti. That day Foster ran for 377 yards and six touchdowns for Tustin High, and Palmer passed for 419 yards and five TDs for Santa Margarita High, which won 55-42. Ever since an emotional embrace at midfield following that game the two have formed a mutual admiration society, but neither of these high school All-Americas dreamed he would be a focal point of L.A.'s grand rivalry just one year later.
As usual, Foster didn't start in UCLA's three-tailback rotation, but he did jump-start the Bruins in the first half, scoring three times as they took a 27-10 lead. The 6'1", 205-pound Foster is a dazzling combination of hustle and muscle. On his first score, a four-yard catch-and-run on a throw from Cade McNown, he made like his idol, Earl Campbell, and bulled into the end zone over the top of a would-be tackier. Early in the second quarter Foster added a 65-yard scamper down the sideline. For the game Foster rushed 15 times for 109 yards and now leads UCLA with 556 yards (at 5.6 per carry) and 12 touchdowns. "DeShaun was awesome, as usual," Palmer said following the game.
Palmer wasn't so bad himself, completing 28 of 43 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. A year ago, after their epic confrontation, he had consoled a teary Foster by telling him, "You are the man." The same goes now, only more so.
The Dicey State Of Connecticut
If Governor John G. Rowland and the city of Hartford follow through on last week's tentative agreement with the New England Patriots and build a 68,000-seat stadium, UConn, now a Division I-AA school, almost certainly will move up to I-A and become the ninth team in the Big East. One problem: Where will the Huskies find I-A talent? At the start of this season, the eight Big East teams had a total of just 12 players from Connecticut on their rosters....
The longest winning streak in the Pac-10 after those of UCLA (20) and Arizona (5) belongs to 3-8 Stanford, which won its last two games. The Cardinal's 10-3 defeat of Cal not only was Stanford's fourth consecutive Big Game victory but also prevented the Golden Bears, who finished the season 5-6, from qualifying for a bowl game....
The crowd to see Temple lose to Syracuse 38-7 at 67,000-seat Veterans Stadium was so sparse (an announced 12,483) that one Owls defensive player adjusted his position on the line after hearing a coach yell at him from the press box.